Have you woken up yet, or did you never go to sleep? When I finally turned off the game broadcast and the clock was nearing 2:00AM EST, I was still experiencing a strange vibe. It is that energy you feel when you are walking out of a Metallica concert, or you just jumped out of an airplane. It is pure adrenaline. It makes you want to open up all the windows, crank up the AC/DC, recite lines from "Braveheart," write a poem, eat a bucket of cold KFC, and relive a simple, silly game in your mind over and over again.
Mayberry writes that overtime playoff games can turn even the most congenial gentlemen into ornery seadogs.
"Words can't describe the emotions that went through our team throughout the game" - Scott Brooks
Young is as about as overwhelmed as I am today. I'm also glad that he too notes call the refs botched late in the game; doth mine eyes deceive? They do not.
Hollinger reflects on last night's game, noting that its outcome may in fact have some lingering impact running into Game Five. Zach Randolph logged 56 minutes and Marc Gasol played for 57. If the Thunder can attack them early and often, those two may begin to wear as the second half rolls on.
Blinebury writes about the growth the team experienced together in fighting through a 3OT playoff game. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook note that it was about leaving everything on the court, and I think that is right - you never really know what it feels like to "leave everything on the court" until you actually do it.
More links after the jump.
I think Tramel is a little harsh on Brooks here. yes, the team was practically DOA at the start, but in the second quarter he found a small-ball lineup that worked, and brought the team all the way back from the precipice. Most importantly, he realized his Game Three mistake in not using James Harden to his fullest, and this time out gave Harden 49 minutes of action.
Youth was certainly served last night, as three of the best players on the court logged a cumulative 157 minutes and had the legs and drive in the 3rd OT that the Grizzlies players did not.
Pelton writes that Russell Westbrook was both better and worse than you imagined last night. I think it underscores one of the most compelling things about basketball - everything about a player, both good and bad, are on display for all to see.
In an inconceivable third overtime, Durant burned the wheezing Grizzlies for a quick six points. The death blow was a behind-the-back dribble that blurred into a beautiful jumper. It was Jamal Crawford's whimsical tune, played by a more talented man. Only a true winner could bring impish flourishes to a third overtime.
Here is a pretty cool video of a group of fans who saw it fit to usher their team off the plane at 3:30 in the morning, following last night's marathon. Game Five in OKC is going to be special.
Memphis writer Geoff Calkins writes a splendid piece on how it felt as a human being to be part of last night's epic game. He does a great job letting the players and front office give honest and candid assessments as to how it felt. What is amazing is that both the players and fans seemed to understand that the moment transcended something as petty as a win or a loss.
"It was long. It was draining. It was sloppy. It was brilliant. It was physical. It had easy shots missed and impossible ones hit. It was entertaining. It was basketball you could not turn away from."
Mr. Blott takes the all-defensive team selection to task. One notable problem that he and others have noted is the existence of Kobe Bryant on the first team. Put aside the fact that this spot was Tony Allen's and Allen's alone. If you conclude that Kobe was the best defensive SG this past year, then I'm afraid that I must conclude you haven't actually watched any of this year's games involving Kobe.
After last night's performance, I think that Durant is definitely in the league's top five, but this writer makes the argument for the #1 slot.
In case you missed it, there was another OT game last night, but that one only went to a single overtime, so once again the Western Conference rules all.